May 27, 2013
The Washington Post published an revealing story by Nick Anderson that discusses how colleges are pumping out master’s degrees:
The nation’s colleges and universities are churning out master’s degrees in sharply rising numbers, responding to a surge in demand for advanced credentials from young professionals who want to stand out in the workforce and earn more money.
From 2000 to 2012, the annual production of master’s degrees jumped 63 percent, federal data show, growing 18 percentage points more than the output of bachelor’s degrees. It is a sign of a quiet but profound transformation underway at many prominent universities, which are pouring more energy into job training than ever before.
Needless to say: this is the opposite direction in which a society saturated with education debt should be heading. We need undergraduate degrees that are substantial enough that they provide the basis for a solid career. But the schools are doing what makes sense economically. Pump out graduate degrees, degrade the values of such degrees, and rake in more money.
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It turns out that college debt is becoming or has become a major international problem. One organization of college debt analysts, CollegeStats, has a webpage tracking college debt in these countries: the United Kingdom, Canada, China, Japan, and Australia. It looks like American grads have it the worst, but the U.K. and Canada are not far behind. It is a growing problem in a number of countries. CollegeStats has done excellent work in aggregating this international data.